The Most Romantic Love Poems of All Time

By: Lou Reeves

Hear me out… I know this one’s pretty subjective, but if you’re looking to move past Pride and Prejudice or Wuthering Heights this Valentine’s, this might be the list for you. Or, if you’re quite simply just looking to steal some words to stick in a card for your S.O., keep scrolling too. What follows is a list of the most beautiful poetry in the English language, the kind of poetry that tugs on your heart strings and makes you go oh wow how does someone have the brains to come up with that.


7. ‘She Walks in Beauty’, Lord Byron

This opens with the words ‘She walks in beauty, like the night / Of cloudless climes and starry skies;’ … need I say more?

6. ‘I loved you first: but afterwards your love’, Christina Rossetti

Christina Rossetti, in general, is just a delight to read, and the canon of love poetry would not be the same without her. And these lines (‘I loved you first: but afterwards your love / Outsoaring mine, sang such a loftier song / As drowned the friendly cooings of my dove.’

5. ‘Valentine’, Carol Ann Duffy

Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy hopes to ‘describe, interrogate and celebrate love’. This poem, which beings ‘Not a red rose or a satin heart. / I give you an onion.’

4. ‘Another Valentine’, Wendy Cope

Funny and clever, Cope explores the obligation behind Valentine’s: ‘Today we are obliged to be romantic / And think of yet another valentine.’

Alfred Eisenstaedt, 'V-J Day in Times Square', 1945

Alfred Eisenstaedt, 'V-J Day in Times Square', 1945

3. ‘Sonnet 116’, William Shakespeare

Shakespeare’s most famous sonnet needs no introduction. ‘Love is not love / Which alters when it alteration finds’ is probably one of the most quoted lines for wedding vows, but it’s a classic for a reason.

2. ‘The Good Morrow’, John Donne.

‘I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I / Did, till we loved?’ I do not know John, I do not know, but my god do you write beautifully.

1.     ’Amoretti LXXV’, Edmund Spenser

My favourite lines of poetry. Ever. Period. For me, nothing compares to this. ‘And in the heavens write your glorious name: / Where whenas death shall all the world subdue, / Our love shall live, and later life renew.’

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